Loving the Sacred through Word and Image. The Ferryland – New Foundland Iceberg Easter 2017. A Word Press Production.

World War II

Yom Hashoa … 4-11-10

What did you do today to remember ???

It kind of slipped my  mind, the day and all. I spent the last 2 days typing out my Old Testament Samuel Diachronic Presentation into my computer 32 slides in all and I finished it earlier tonight. Now I can get to bed at a nominal hour and listen to my over night radio show.

I have three papers to write in the next seven days. In order not to be tossed from the M.A. program. The fourth paper isn’t due until the 29th and that should not be a problem. I have to get Sophia and Origen written by next Tuesday. God give me strength…

I spoke to my friend down in Florida, the lady keeping an eye on Louise. She is home now, and was sleeping when I called earlier today. Things must be going very well that they discharged her so soon after surgery.

That’s all I have for you at the moment. So from Primo Levi, Survival in Auschwitz, I remember …

“You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.”

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz


Remembrance Day 11-11-08

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What will you remember??? Who will you remember???
Stop for a moment in your day and say a prayer.


Holocaust Memorial Day …

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You who live safe
In your warm houses,
You who find, returning in the evening,
Hot food and friendly faces:
Consider if this is a man
Who works in the mud
Who does not know peace
Who fights for a scrap of bread
Who dies because of a yes and a no.
Consider if this is a woman,
Without hair and without name
With no more strength to remember,
Her eyes empty and her womb cold
Like a frog in winter

Meditate that this came about:
I commend these words to you.
Carve them in your hearts
At Home, in the street,
Going to bed, rising;
Repeat them to your children,

Or may your house fall apart,
May illness impede you,
May your children turn their faces from you.

Primo Levi

Survival in Auschwitz

Let us Remember so that We Never Forget…


Snow Storm #2 has begun

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The snow began to fall at 2 a.m. est in Montreal and they are calling for over 30 cm to maybe 50 cm of snow by Monday night. Stay tuned. It is going to get very nasty over the next 24 hours.


All is Right in the World

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I slept in today, UGH! But I did get to my evening class with Sara, my Celtic Christianity class, which I totally enjoyed. Sara’s classes are comfy and warm and cozy that you come in and you sit and allow the feeling to wash over you that “all is well in the world.”

That doesn’t speak of an easy ride mind you, but one of conscious thought and work. I have been reading the course pack and through tonight’s discussion we have learned a few things. That there is more to Celtic life than we may have known. That each reading in the book is set in its place for a reason.

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Imagine standing before a forest, you boys out West can better understand this than I can paint a picture, but Sara used the forest imagery tonight. And I remarked how each reading, if laid upon the one prior paints a picture in successive layers of reading, and information. And the readings tease you to walk into the forest and turn leaves over looking for further clues to the real truth of the Celtic.

We are invited to start exploring the forest for clues to our study for this term. It is not all so easy, and reading about the past – we must use our lenses of hermeneutic suspicion, to read each text and article with a critical eye. I used that term tonight, and Sara giggled to the rest of the class, “oh Jeremy, you are so clever, aren’t you!” I had to explain this strategy with my fellows.

It’s all good…

And my young warrior from the West came to visit! You can check out his blog, The Life of Robert Wesley, he is a very special friend that I have known for some time.  Joy of joys he has decided to continue writing!! YAY!!

On the way home I hit “Came to Believe” in time for the second speaker, just so I had some time to sit with myself and be quiet and listen to another speak about his trials and tribulations about recovery. I just wanted to sit and listen, which is always a good thing to do when possible.

Over all is was a great night. Now I am gonna hit some dinner and chill out…

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A photograph from the Portfolio of Robert Wesley from B.C.


A Holocaust mystery finds some answers

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By ARTHUR MAX and MONIKA SCISLOWSKA, Associated Press Writers 

BAD AROLSEN, Germany – Deep in Shari Klages’ memory is an image of herself as a girl in New Jersey, going into her parents’ bedroom, pulling a thick leather-bound album from the top shelf of a closet and sitting down on the bed to leaf through it.

What she saw was page after page of ink-and-watercolor drawings that convey, with simple lines yet telling detail, the brutality of Dachau, the Nazi concentration camp where her father spent the last weeks of World War II.

Arrival, enslavement, torture, death — the 30 pictures expose the worsening nightmare through the artist’s eye for the essential, and add graphic texture to the body of testimony by Holocaust survivors.

“I have a sense of being quite horrified, of feeling my stomach in my throat,” Klages says. Just by looking at the book, she felt she was doing something wrong and was afraid of being caught.

Now, she finally wants to make the album public. Scholars who have seen it call it historically unique and an artistic treasure.

But who drew the pictures? Only Klages’ father could know. It was he who brought the album back from Dachau when he immigrated to America on a ship with more than 60 Holocaust orphans — and he had committed suicide in 1972 in his garage in Parsippany, N.J.

The sole clue was a signature at the bottom of several drawings: Porulski.

Klages, 47, has begun a quest to discover who Porulski was, and how her family came to be the custodian of his remarkable artistic legacy. The Associated Press has helped to fill in some of the blanks.

What unfolds is a story of Holocaust survival compressed into two tragic lives, a tale with threads stretching from Warsaw to Auschwitz and Dachau, from Australia to suburban England, and finally to a bedroom in New Jersey where a fatherless girl makes a traumatic discovery.

It shows how today, as the survivors dwindle in number, their children and grandchildren struggle to comprehend the Nazi genocide that indelibly scarred their families, and in the process run into mysteries that may never be solved.

This is Shari Klages’ mystery: How did Arnold Unger, her Polish Jewish father, a 15-year-old newcomer to Dachau, end up in possession of the artwork of a Polish Catholic more than twice his age, who had been in the concentration camps through most of World War II?

None of the records Klages found confirm that the two men knew each other, though they lived in adjacent blocks in Dachau. All that is certain is that Unger overlapped with Porulski during the three weeks the boy spent among nearly 30,000 inmates of Dachau’s main camp.

“He never talked about his experiences in the war,” said Klages. “I don’t recall specifically ever being told about the album, or actually learning that I was the child of a Holocaust survivor. It was just something I always knew.”

As adults, she and her three siblings took turns keeping the album and Unger’s other wartime memorabilia.

The album begins with an image of four prisoners in winter coats carrying suitcases and marching toward Dachau’s watchtower under the rifles of SS guards. It is followed by a scene of two inmates being stripped for a humiliating examination by a kapo, a prisoner working for the Nazis.

One image portrays two prisoners pausing in their work to doff their caps to a soldier escorting a prostitute — intimated by the seam on her stocking. Another shows a leashed dog lunging at a terrified inmate.

The drawings grow more and more debasing. Three prisoners hang by their arms tied behind their backs; a captured escapee is paraded wearing a sign, “Hurray, I am back again”; an inmate is hanged from a scaffold; and, in the final image, a man lies on the ground, shot dead next to the barbed-wire fence under the looming watchtower.

The album also has 258 photographs. Some are copies of well-known, haunting images of piles of victims’ bodies taken by the U.S. army that liberated the camp. Others are photographs, apparently taken for Nazi propaganda, portraying Dachau as an idyllic summer camp. Still others are personal snapshots of Unger with Polish refugees or with American soldiers who befriended him.

Barbara Distel, the director of the Dachau Concentration Camp Memorial Site, said Porulski probably drew the pictures shortly after the camp’s liberation in April 1945. He used identical sheets of paper, ink and watercolors for all 30 pictures, she said, and he “would never have dared” to draw such horrors while he was still under Nazi gaze.

“It’s amazing after so many years that these kinds of documents still turn up,” Distel told the AP. “It’s a unique artifact,” and clearly drawn by someone with an intimate knowledge of the camp’s reality, she said.

Holocaust artwork has turned up before, but Distel and Holocaust scholar Michael Berenbaum, who is with the American Jewish University in Los Angeles, say they are unaware of any sequential narrative of camp life comparable to Porulski’s.

“I’ve seen two or three or four, but never 30,” said Berenbaum.

In Coral Springs, Fla., where she now lives, Klages showed the book in 2005 to a neighbor, Avi Hoffman, executive director of the National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts. Hoffman immediately saw its quality and significance. The two became determined to uncover its background and find out if the artist had created an undiscovered body of work.

In August, Klages, Hoffman and Berenbaum went to Germany to begin their hunt. They hired a crew to document it, hoping a film would help finance a foundation to exhibit the book.

They began chipping away at the album’s secrets at the Dachau memorial, outside Munich, where they found an arrival record for Michal Porulski, which listed his profession as artist, in 1941.

They learned that Unger hid the fact that he was Jewish when he reached Dachau three weeks before the war ended. “That probably saved his life,” Hoffman said. They also discovered a strong likelihood that the album’s binding was fashioned from the recycled leather of an SS officer’s uniform.

Unger, an engaging youngster, became an office boy and translator for U.S. occupation authorities at Dachau, which was turned into a displaced persons camp, and obtained a U.S. visa in 1947.

Research by Klages’ group and the AP has begun to pull together the scattered threads of Porulski’s life from long forgotten records at the Warsaw Academy of Fine Arts, a tiny museum in Warsaw, Auschwitz and Dachau, the International Tracing Service of the Red Cross, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial archives in Jerusalem, Australian immigration records and data from England.

Porulski enrolled in the Warsaw arts academy in 1934 after completing two years of army service. Attached to his neatly written application is a photograph of a good looking young man with light hair and dreamy eyes.

It says he was a farmer’s son, born June 20, 1910, in the central town of Rychwal, although in later records Porulski said he was born five years later.

Chronically poor, he left the academy after failing to secure a loan for his tuition but was later reinstated. After Germany invaded in 1939, he made some money painting watercolor postcards of Nazi-occupied Poland, two of which have survived and are now in the Warsaw Museum of Caricature.

In June 1940, he was arrested in a Nazi roundup “without any reason,” he wrote many years later in an appeal for help from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees.

Two months later, he and 1,500 others were the first Poles to be shipped from Warsaw to Auschwitz. He spent eight months there, then was sent to the Neuengamme camp and finally to Dachau, near Munich, in May 1941.

In Dachau, according to a brief reference in a Polish book on wartime art, he painted portraits, flowers, folk dance scenes and decoration for a clandestine theater.

In 1949 he sailed to Australia and tried to work as a painter and decorator but mostly lived off friends. He returned to Europe in 1963 and lived in England and France. He visited Poland in the early 1970s for several months, and stayed with his sister, Janina Krol, in Gdynia on the Baltic coast, and another relative outside Warsaw, Wanda Wojcikowska.

He brought his sister paintings of Dachau, his niece, Danuta Ostrowska, now 75, recalls. But her mother threw them away, saying “I can’t look at them.” The family still owns 10 of his mostly prewar paintings.

He was robbed of his money and passport, and Poland‘s communist authorities wanted Porulski out of the country, Wojcikowska’s daughter, Malgorzata Stozek, recalls. “My mother even found a woman willing to marry him, to help him stay in Poland,” she said. But he already had borrowed money from his sister and left.

His letters from England said he found work maintaining bridges, Stozek said. “He wrote that the moment he finished painting a bridge over some river, he had to start again.” It could have been a metaphor for a life going nowhere.

“One day I came to see my mother and she was crying because he wrote to her that he had no money, he was hungry and was sleeping on park benches. He lived in terrible poverty,” Stozek told the AP.

He was so lonely, she said, he had considered suicide.

In 1978 he sent a request for war compensation to the International Tracing Service in the central German town of Bad Arolsen, which houses the world’s largest archive of concentration camp records and lists of Holocaust victims.

“I have no occupation of any sort. I was unable to resume my studies after all those years in the camps,” he wrote. “I am just by myself, and I live from day to day.”

The ITS replied that it had no authority to give grants, but was sending confirmation of his incarceration to the U.N. refugee agency to support his earlier reparations claim.

Unger also shows up in the Tracing Service, in a 1955 two-page letter he wrote recounting his ordeal that began when he was 9.

Unger’s father had a prosperous furniture business near Krakow. “Then the infamous horde of Nazis overran our town, disrupted our life, murdered my parents and little sister, and robbed us of all we had.” He was the only survivor of 50 members of the Unger family.

Christian friends hid him for a while, but he ended up imprisoned inside the Krakow ghetto, then was moved to a series of concentration camps.

His daughter says that after he immigrated to America, he told a cousin with whom he lived in New Jersey that his job at Dachau had been to tend the ovens. The Nazis commonly used inmates for such purposes — it was one of the few ways of surviving.

Newly arrived in America, Unger spoke to Newark newspapers of his years of torment, saying he escaped three times during marches between camps but was always recaptured.

At one point, he told the Newark Evening News, he was herded into a gas chamber at Natzweiler camp with 50 other prisoners, but they were spared at the last minute because some of them were electricians whom the Nazis needed for their war effort.

The two lives, briefly intertwined by the Holocaust and an album of photos and paintings, ended 17 years apart — Unger by hanging himself in 1972, Porulski in 1989 in St. Mary’s Hospital near Hereford, England, of pneumonia and tuberculosis.

The death certificate gives his age as 74 and his profession as “painter (retired).”

Shari Klages was 12 when her father died.

He had just been laid off from his 18-year job in the aeronautics industry, and his wife had been diagnosed with brain cancer. His suicide is given added poignancy by the image of the hanged inmate in the album, and Klages believes it was his Holocaust experience that weighed most heavily on him.

“I have no doubt it was the most significant contributor to his death,” she said.

___

Associated Press investigative researcher Randy Herschaft in New York contributed to this report. Arthur Max reported from Bad Arolsen, Germany, and Monika Scislowska from Warsaw.

On the Net:

National Center for Jewish Cultural Arts

Dachau

International Tracing Service


Celtic Christianity …

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Celtic society was hierarchical and class based. According to both Roman and Irish sources, Celtic society was divided into three groups:  a warrior aristocracy, an intellectual class that included druids, poets, and jurists, and everyone else.

Celtic economy was probably based on the economic principle of most tribal economies: reciprocity. In a reciprocal economy, goods and other services are not exchanged for other goods, but they are given by individuals to individuals based on mutual kinship relationships and obligations.

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The Celts were polytheistic: We do know that Celtic gods tended to come in threes; the Celtic logic of divinity always centered on triads. This triadic logic no doubt had tremendous significance in the translation of Christianity into northern European cultural models.

“In short, what the soul is in the body, Christians are in the world. The soul dwells in the body but is not of the body; Christians dwell in the world, but they are not of the world. The soul is invisible and is confined in a visible body; so Christians are recognized in the world, but their religious life remains invisible.”

Many of the early British Christians known as the Celtic saints were monks and nuns. Monks lived in caves or huts, often grouped around a more experienced leader. Bishop Martin Tours (c316-97) was the best known of the early Western figures who pursued the monastic life. The monasteries of Gaul developed a strong intellectual tradition, and from 400 ce their influence spread to Ireland and Wales.

Columba established a community on the island of Iona, off the Scottish west coast, which became a centre of monastic life and learning throughout Celtic times.


Andy’s memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


Andy's memory of September 11th

The Last Debate: Andy’s story …  

What I remember most is the silence.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001, began like every other day.

I was running a little bit late for work at my temp job on the Upper East Side, but it was a casual environment so despite the time I went ahead and walked across Central Park instead of catching the M79 bus to 5th Avenue because the weather was spectacular. It was warm but not especially humid, and the sky was a royal blue. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen.

It was about quarter to nine.

I had my Discman with me (no iPods yet) and was listening to the second act of Parsifal (the Karajan, with Vejzovic and Hofmann) as I took my usual loop around the top of the Great Lawn, with its famous panoramic view of the wall of midtown skyscrapers rising from the tree-lined perimeter of the park. I was just approaching the lawn when a distraught-looking man tried to get my attention as he pointed southward to the sky. I figured he was just another looney, so I ignored him.

But a few steps later, I glanced out toward the city and noticed a small, black cloud over the tops of the towers, which like an inkblot began to spread ominously over the skyline.

At that time of day, the park is filled with unleashed dogs and their owners. At the top of the oval path, a few of us gathered to speculate: obviously a building was on fire somewhere. “Hope everyone’s all right,” someone said.

Then a park worker drove up in his big green pickup. “Do you know what’s going on?” we asked him. “They say a plane flew into the World Trade Center,” he replied.

We looked at the crystalline sky. What? How, on a day like today, could someone possibly fly into a building? I don’t think any of us were thinking airliner. And we were certainly thinking accident. The guy turned up the volume on the truck’s radio.

“Okay, ladies and gentlemen…we’re…we’re getting an unconfirmed report that a second plane has struck the second tower,” the incredulous voice on the radio said.

Among the small group that had gathered to watch, there were various responses of “Nah, no way,” “Someone’s confused,” “Couldn’t be,” “Just a rumor,” and things to that effect.

Then the voice spoke again: “Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I can confirm it now, a second airliner has struck the second tower. Both World Trade Center towers are on fire.

Silence.

You know that phrase, “weak in the knees”? In that awful moment, it became clear, without anyone having to say it, that the city was under attack. People were dead. A lot of people were dead. As I turned again to see the expanding plume of smoke speeding toward Brooklyn, my stomach clutched and my head reeled as I steadied myself on the fence surrounding the lawn.

Our small group dispersed quickly and silently.

As I headed toward my job on 75th Street, I passed a playground on the south side of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; toddlers were running and swinging and chasing each other and squealing with joy, while Caribbean nannies and stay-at-home moms sat peacefully on benches in the shade. I envied them their collective innocence, short-lived as it was about to be.

By the time I reached the job, the Pentagon had been struck, as well, and the media were warning of hundreds of airliners still in the sky. As the company was housed in a national historic landmark, we soon received a phonecall from the police ordering us to evacuate.

The subways were closed and the buses were mobbed, so there was nothing for it but to begin the seven-and-a-half mile walk home, and I headed across Central Park once again. The noxious plume from the catastrophe, like the darkness that wends its way out of Mordor before the final siege of Minas Tirith, hung like a banner of death over the city: the funeral pyre of nearly 3,000 innocents.

No one was walking their dog in the park now. No children were playing.

At the corner of 86th and Central Park West, an elderly man was standing in front of the building, tears running down his face. “It fell down,” he said to me, his voice quaking and cracking with anguish.

“What?” I asked, unsure of what I’d heard.

“The tower…it fell down.” My mind could not wrap itself around the imagined vision of a 110-story skyscraper, a global icon, falling down. I simply could not picture it; could not accept it as belonging to the realm of the possible.

When I reached Broadway, the owners of a bodega had set a television set on folding chair on the sidewalk so passersby could see the news. I had missed the collapse of the second tower by seconds; all that was visible was that awful, boiling grey cloud of debris where there ought to have been gleaming silver buildings.

The city had been sealed off; the bridges and tunnels were closed, and there was nothing for anyone to do but go home (if you could). There was hardly any traffic at all on Broadway, save the occasional loaded cab or jam-packed bus. Now and then there would be an ambulance, sirens wailing.

What was remarkable was the silence. No one spoke. There was no music playing anywhere. Only sirens.

Two and a half hours later I reached my apartment. I called my parents to let them know I was okay, and then spent the rest of the afternoon in stunned, silent grief, nauseous and scared, as I wondered what was next, and tried to come to terms with the discovery that there were people in the world who wanted to kill me.

I would spend nearly six years wondering what was next. From that moment on, I never once set foot on a bus or a subway or a plane or stepped inside a theater or any other public place and didn’t worry about a bomb or other atrocity. Though I had been, thankfully, far from the World Trade Center at the time and never in any danger, I began to have nightmares and panic attacks. On the subway, my chest would constrict, my heart would begin to ache and I’d have to get off at the next stop and walk around above ground until the nausea went away. I was often late for work.

Some days I called in sick, because I just couldn’t get on the train.

Once I fled a performance at the Metropolitan Opera, mid-aria. The sweat began pouring down my brow and the familiar, tight-chested “I think I want to puke” sensation overtook me, and I headed for the exit.

I think it’s no coincidence that I lost my voice in 2002.

I don’t speak often of these things. It hurts to remember; it hurts to remember a day when strangers came among us, into the heart of my beautiful, beloved city, to hurt us. To kill people, to incinerate them in a blinding red-orange flash, or to strand them with the options of leaping to their deaths or waiting for 100 ceilings to come crashing down on top of them. It hurts to remember how this tragedy was appropriated to justify a war of utter insanity. It hurts to remember the previously unknown anxiety that began to haunt me daily, manifested in a physical disorder which, slowly, night by night as I suffered through recurring nightmares of being blown apart on the subway, dismantled my dreams and a decade of hard work, literally eating away my career aspirations in baths of stomach acid.

Now, 3000 miles and six years later, I realize that in many ways, I’m still fleeing the attack.

Eternal Rest Grant them, and may Perpetual Light shine upon them…
Thank you Andy


September 11th…

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The Calm Man who did his best at reporting

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A photo from April of 1971 of the towers

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The Man who changed us all

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The Man who gave his life for his faith

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What is your definition of History???

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“May I speak freely Miss?”

“It’s just one fuckin’ thing after another…”

Rudge…


Rare dead star found near Earth

From: BBC News Online

Neutron star artwork, Image: Casey Reed/Penn State

Neutron stars form when massive stars exhaust their fuel

Astronomers have spotted a space oddity in Earth’s neighbourhood – a dead star with some unusual characteristics. The object, known as a neutron star, was studied using space telescopes and ground-based observatories.

But this one, located in the constellation Ursa Minor, seems to lack some key characteristics found in other neutron stars.

Details of the study, by a team of American and Canadian researchers, will appear in the Astrophysical Journal.

If confirmed, it would be only the eighth known “isolated neutron star” – meaning a neutron star that does not have an associated supernova remnant, binary companion, or radio pulsations.

Either Calvera is an unusual example of a known type of neutron star, or it is some new type of neutron star, the first of its kind

Robert Rutledge, McGill University

The object has been nicknamed Calvera, after the villain in the 1960s western film The Magnificent Seven.

“The seven previously known isolated neutron stars are known collectively as The Magnificent Seven within the community,” said co-author Derek Fox, of Pennsylvania State University, US.

“So the name Calvera is a bit of an inside joke on our part.”

The authors estimate that the object is 250 to 1,000 light-years away. This would make Calvera one of the closest neutron stars to Earth – and possibly the closest.

Neutron stars are one of the possible end points for a star. They are created when stars with masses greater than four to eight times those of our Sun exhaust their nuclear fuel, and undergo a supernova explosion.

This explosion blows off the outer layers of the star, forming a supernova remnant. The central region of the star collapses under gravity, causing protons and electrons to combine to form neutrons – hence the name “neutron star”.

Data search

Robert Rutledge of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, originally noticed the object.

He compared a catalogue of 18,000 X-ray sources from the German-American Rosat satellite, which operated from 1990 to 1999, with catalogues of objects that appeared in visible light, infrared light, and radio waves.

Artist's impression of Swift, Nasa

Swift was launched to observe gamma-ray bursts

Professor Rutledge realized that a Rosat source, known as 1RXS J141256.0+792204, did not appear to have a counterpart at any other wavelength.

The group aimed Nasa’s Swift satellite at the object in August 2006. Swift’s X-ray telescope showed that the source was still there, and was emitting about the same amount of X-ray energy as it had during the Rosat era.

The Swift observations enabled the group to pinpoint the object’s position more accurately, and showed that it was not associated with any known astronomical object.

The researchers followed up with the 8.1m Gemini North Telescope in Hawaii and a short observation by Nasa’s Chandra X-ray Observatory.

Unusual properties

Exactly what type of neutron star Calvera is remains a mystery. According to Dr Rutledge, there are no widely accepted alternative theories to explain objects such as this that are bright in X-rays and faint in visible light.

“Either Calvera is an unusual example of a known type of neutron star, or it is some new type of neutron star, the first of its kind,” said Dr Rutledge.

Calvera’s location high above the plane of our Milky Way galaxy is also a mystery. The researchers believe the object is the remnant of a star that lived in our galaxy’s starry disc before exploding as a supernova.

In order to reach its current position, it had to wander some distance out of the disc.


Hurrican Dean from the I.S.S.

Hurricane Dean from the International Space Station/NASA


France mourns former archbishop

BBC News Online

 

Funeral of Cardinal Lustiger at Notre Dame, Paris

President Sarkozy flew home especially for the funeral

A funeral service including Jewish prayers has been held at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris for Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger. The former Archbishop of Paris, who died on Sunday aged 80, was born Aaron Lustiger to Polish Jews who had settled in France before World War I.

The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, interrupted his summer holiday in the United States to attend the funeral.

Cardinal Lustiger became a Catholic at the start of World War II.

The ceremonies at Notre Dame began with a reading of a Jewish psalm, followed by the Kaddish, the Jewish prayer for the dead.

Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger

Cardinal Lustiger worked to improve Catholic-Jewish relations

Arno Lustiger, a cousin and 83-year-old Auschwitz death camp survivor, read the Kaddish before a crowd of some 5,000 mourners.

President Sarkozy described Cardinal Lustiger as “a great man, a man who was important to the French, believers and non-believers alike, a man of peace, unity and reconciliation”.

Cardinal Lustiger was an outspoken opponent of racism and anti-Semitism, who appeared frequently on television as a commentator on current issues.

He was buried in the cathedral’s crypt, like most former archbishops of Paris since the 17th Century.

His successor, Archbishop Andre Vingt-Trois, praised the late cardinal’s role in “the development of relations between Jews and Christians, with the encouragement and support of [former Pope] John Paul II”.

Cardinal Lustiger died on Sunday in a clinic in Paris, where he was admitted in April.

The cleric was archbishop of Paris for 24 years before stepping down in 2005 at the age of 78. He was made a cardinal in 1983.

His mother Gisele was deported and killed by the Nazis at Auschwitz during the war.


Just beneath the Surface …

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Do you see it?
Can you feel it?
Do you ever think about it?

M O R T A L I T Y !!!!

I started my day in a church. Do you know why I did that? Why it was important for me to receive the sacraments today? To have a minister pray with me and for me, to bless me and absolve me,

Almighty God,
to you all hearts are open,
all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hidden,
Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts
by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,
that we may perfectly love you,
and worthily magnify your holy name;
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The older I get, the more serious is my thought about Mortality. We all will face it one day, but I can’t help but ponder this subject in greater detail, because unlike many of you, life could take a turn very quickly and I could die, the last time this happened was in 2006 when I was testing new medications, and I got severely ill and I remember saying to myself one particular night that “I thought I would die.”

On my birthday I was sitting in the room at the meeting, the church above us I spoke about the fact that none of us know when that appointed day will come, but for me I have been waiting on it for some time. I fancy God sitting up in his heaven, with a sly look on his face, holding strong to one corner of the carpet that I am standing on and he yanks it up and I fall, the end comes crashing down around me.

Nobody wants to say the words, but I know that many of my friends are wary of mentioning the word “death” so they speak in hushed tones using words like “I’m so proud of you”, and “that I am a miracle” and “that God has blessed me with long life,” to date. The best line is this one “He looks so good, that unless you knew or asked – you’d never know he had AIDS!”

I work very hard at avoiding or talking about the obvious strain on my mental health, yet I do not dwell on death, but I have a healthy fear of it for sure. You’d never know I was even gay, from the outside. You’d never know that there was an ember burning quietly and strongly beneath the surface. That person sitting in the same place as you had a date with death several times in his life, and he avoided the reaper.

I remarked to a friend that I was afraid of what was ahead of me after the meeting, and for some they cannot fathom this fact, but my friends did. Some of the men told me that I should go on with my life and not think about it, but how can I Not think about it?

I just wanted to remind you that Mortality is an issue that I deal with every day now. Each day that passes – I thank God for life – which is why I went to mass and I think in retrospect, that is why the Reverend Canon laid hands on me and asked God to bless me and keep me healthy. I heard the urgency in her voice – the necessity that God grant that prayer – right then and there. To guarantee me a place “in community” for as long as God would permit.

I do not know how long my body will continue to take the pills I push upon it daily, or how long these new medications will continue to work – we are only a few months in and things look very good on paper, my body seems to like these mew medications and I haven’t had any great bodily changes. The look of death has not come over me – that gaunt AIDS look that most men get at some point in their journey, those you know are marked for death.

I remember my spirit and I pray daily and I attend mass when I can, and I spend time helping others because as long as I keep the focus off of me and on someone else, I can avoid having to look at the cold hard truth for very long. But I must tell you that I have had that “conversation with God” this week, and I made a deal. I think he agreed on the deal, as long as I served Him – and did my best every day – and I stayed in my day and not expected to die – that I would live a long life.

Religion, what is it? Is it a comfort to help us on the way to our graves? To give us something to focus on in death? A loving God, a forgiving Christ and a Spirit that loves us to fill the soul of man with hope that on that appointed day we would stand with our maker and be granted eternal life!

Is religion a cop out? The easy path?

I don’t know what to think – but I do believe – and for me that simple kernel of faith saves me. I know that nobody wants to think about it, so I write and remind you of the ever present fact that we all will face our mortality, some sooner than others. I’ve studied death and dying in my undergraduate career.

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For many years I held on to the visual of Monica, the Angel from “Touched by an Angel” who said those simple words “I’m an angel sent by God, to tell you that God Loves You.”

I have seen every episode and I have a collection of hundreds of episodes here at home. During those years that I was so sick and I needed something to hold onto this little television show was my salvation, a second helping of God every Sunday after returning home from an evening mass. I kind of fancy that Andrew would stand here with me on that final moment to carry me to God in heaven.

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It was easy to let go and let God, because of my faith in God and this little show that confirmed to me in visual form that there were angels and that I wasn’t alone, sitting in my apartment, sick as a dog. They even touched on the “aids” stories and the fact that even people with AIDS had angels. I believed that and I still do. Now in syndication, on Vision TV I can watch TBAA at night here in Montreal. And at Christmas I can watch the special shows that were created over the years while the show was running.

I find it funny the lengths I went to to maintain my spiritual beliefs when everyone around me was worrying that I was going to die, I was worried about that and the fact that I had no idea how I was going to survive another year. These memories are found back in 1998 and 1999.

When Christians were condemning us, my family included there, the angels were there to tell us that God loved us and still loves us today. That faith worked, because I lived another ten years and now we start another decade with stronger faith and a few angels here and there…

I’m fully aware of my mortality and that scares me.